Friday, September 6, 2013

Top 5 Rules to Driving in Amman

I haven't seen this yet in person, but I have seen a a man riding a donkey on the busiest road going towards downtown Amman. (Zahran)  I guess it is still a mix of the developed/developing world here.

Anyways, there are many things that take time to adjust to when living in a new country.  I feel like Shanna and I were prepared for a few of them before arriving: the more conservative dress, people speaking Arabic, some of the luxuries of home that are absent, and then you have some small frustrations that are new upon arrival.  Why is laundry detergent so expensive?  Why does it take so long to order and get your food at a restaurant, etc. There are also things that blow you away when you arrive like driving.

I was literally scared the first time I had to get behind the wheel and drive.  You see, the school gives us a car.  Amman is not a pedestrian friendly city and public transportation is minimal.  You can always use taxis for cheap, but if we have Ryker along, we really prefer he is in a car seat because OF the driving here.  Although, I have gotten more used to it, driving is still a stressful endeavor a majority of the time.

Anyways, here are my top five tips/rules to driving in Amman:

1.  If you give an inch, you will lose a mile.  Cars will constantly try to get ahead of you, regardless of space, traffic back-ups, or that you are stopped at a red light.  If you give up space to one car, expect 5 others to try and cut in as well.

2.  Turn signals are broken on every single Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Ford, and Porsche here.  Either that, or people here feel it is completely rational and safe to slow down to a complete stop on a busy road to turn without warning somebody inches from their bumper.

3.  Lanes are optional.  Yes, there are lanes paved on most of the major streets.  However; if there are two lanes on a road in one direction, you can bet that people will try and make it three.  Therefore, you are constantly switching between existent and non-existent lanes due to people found in #2.

4.  Horns are utilized at all times.  If you are 1 second late after a light turns green, expect to get honked at incessantly.  If you are going slow, expect to be honked at.  If you don't pull out onto a street, regardless of the traffic in 10 seconds or less, expect to be honked at.  If you pull off to pick up cigarettes at the corner store, block traffic, and double park somebody, that is completely normal.  Honking is optional in that case.

5. If you are indecisive at all when doing anything driving related, you lose out to a Middle Eastern driver.  It is said that if you make eye contact with the driver, it is too late.  They are either cutting in front of you or driving around you.

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